DC Extended Universe
StarringSee below
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
CountryUnited States
BudgetTotal (1 film):
$225 million
Box officeTotal (1 film):
$668 million

The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is an American media franchise and shared fictional universe that is centered on a series of superhero films, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures and based on characters that appear in publications by DC Comics. The shared universe, much like the original DC Universe in comic books, will be established by crossing over common plot elements, settings, cast, and characters.[1]

The first film released in the DCEU was Man of Steel (2013), a reboot of the Superman film series. The next film to be released will be Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), followed by Suicide Squad (2016), with both in post-production and Wonder Woman (2017), which is currently filming. Other films in development include, The Flash (2018), Aquaman (2018), Shazam (2019), Cyborg (2020), Green Lantern Corps (2020), and a two-part Justice League film, with Part One releasing in 2017, and Part Two in 2019. Warner Bros. has also announced a sequel to Man of Steel and a stand-alone Batman film, with the intent for both to be released before 2020. All films are being distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.


The first attempt at a cinematic universe began in 1998 for Superman Lives. The film was supposed to be written by Kevin Smith[2] and directed by Tim Burton. The film was set to feature Nicolas Cage as Superman.[3] The script had Brainiac sending Doomsday to kill Superman, as well as blocking out the sun to make Superman powerless, as Superman is fueled by sunlight. Brainiac teams up with Lex Luthor, but Superman is resurrected by a Kryptonian robot, the Eradicator. Brainiac wishes to possess the Eradicator and its technology. Powerless, the resurrected Superman is sheathed in armor formed from the Eradicator itself until his powers return, courtesy of sunbeams, and defeats Brainiac. Michael Keaton was originally set to reprise his role as Batman from Burton's Batman films, making the attempt at a shared universe.[4] The film was later cancelled.

Akiva Goldsman's draft for the unproduced Batman vs. Superman featured Bruce Wayne coming out of a five-year retirement as Batman and coming into conflict with Superman.[5] Christian Bale, who was being considered for the lead in Darren Aronofsky's Batman: Year One adaptation at the time,[6] was simultaneously approached by Peterson for the Superman role. Peterson confirmed in a 2010 interview the only other actor he approached for Superman was Josh Hartnett.[7] Warner Bros. canceled development to focus on individual Superman and Batman projects after Abrams submitted another draft for Superman: Flyby.[8] Christopher Nolan would later cast Bale as Batman the following year in Batman Begins.

In February 2007, it was announced that Warner Bros hired husband and wife duo Michele and Kieran Mulroney to write a script for a Justice League film.[9] The news came around the same that Joss Whedon's long-developed Wonder Woman film had been canceled,[10] as well as The Flash, written and directed by David S. Goyer.[11] Reportedly titled Justice League: Mortal,[12] Michele and Kiernan Mulroney submitted their script to Warner Bros. in June 2007, receiving positive feedback,[13] which prompted the studio to immediately fast track production in the hopes of filming to begin before the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike.[14] Warner Bros. was less willing to proceed on development with a sequel to Superman Returns, having been disappointed with the box office return. Brandon Routh was not approached to reprise the role of Superman in Justice League Mortal,[15] nor was Christian Bale.[16] Warner Bros. intended for Justice League: Mortal to be the start of a new film franchise, and to branch out into separate sequels and spin-offs.

On January 1, 2014 it was revealed that Warner Bros. intended to launch another attempt at a cinematic universe a few years earlier, which would have started with the 2011 film Green Lantern. The script for The Flash was being written in 2011 by Green Lantern writers Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim, with the post-credits scene featuring Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) meeting The Flash.[17] The film was then cancelled due to the critical and box office disappointment of Green Lantern.

After the 2011 Green Lantern film underperformed, a reboot of Superman was greenlit, which resulted in 2013's Man of Steel, and plans were made to have the film contain references to other characters in DC Universe, so if the film was a success, it would launch a shared universe with other characters that appeared in DC Comics, similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[18][19] On June 10, 2013, it was announced that director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer will both be returning for a Man of Steel sequel which is being fast tracked by Warner Bros. Goyer had previously signed a three-film deal, which includes Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and a Justice League film featuring Superman. On July 20, 2013, Zack Snyder confirmed at San Diego Comic-Con International that the sequel to Man of Steel in 2016 will have Superman and Batman meeting for the first time in a cinematic format.

In October 2014, Warner Bros. announced the titles and release dates for nine films, along with some casting information.[20] Also in the month, Geoff Johns explained DC's difference in approach to Marvel Studios and their cinematic universe, saying, "We look at it as the multiverse. We have our TV universe and our film universe, but they all co-exist. For us, creatively, it’s about allowing everyone to make the best possible product, to tell the best story, to do the best world. Everyone has a vision and you really want to let the visions shine through ... It’s just a different approach."[21] In June 2015, Greg Silverman expanded on DC's approach to their cinematic universe, saying, "We have a great strategy for the DC films, which is to take these beloved characters and put them in the hands of master filmmakers and make sure they all coordinate with each other. You'll see the difference when you see Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, Justice League and all the things that we are working on." Additionally, Silverman explained DC's method of hiring multiple writers for upcoming projects by stating, "Every project is different. On some projects, we have multiple writers working together. In some cases, we put writers together who have never been a team together. And sometimes, there is only one writer whose voice is right."[22]

The universe has commonly been called the "DC Cinematic Universe" by fans and the media, in contrast to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[23][24] In November 2014, Newsarama referred to the universe as the "DC Cinematic Multiverse",[25] while the DC Comics website informally referred to the universe as the "DC Cinematic Universe" in December 2014.[26] In July 2015, in an announcement for their San Diego Comic-Con International preview issue online, Entertainment Weekly referred to the films as existing in the "DC Extended Universe™".[27] However, in the issue, Entertainment Weekly did not use the term, instead called the October 2014 reveal of 10 films over the next five years "a blueprint for an extended universe."[28] At the end of July, the release of the September 2015 issue of Empire confirmed the universe name as the "DC Extended Universe".[29][30]

Man of Steel (2013)

Main article: Man of Steel (film)

Film U.S. release date Director(s) Story by Screenwriter(s) Producer(s)
Man of Steel June 14, 2013 (2013-06-14) Zack Snyder David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan David S. Goyer Charles Roven, Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas and Deborah Snyder

Young journalist Clark Kent/Kal-El, who arrived on Earth years ago from Krypton, struggles with why he was sent to Earth. Raised by his adoptive parents Jonathan and Martha Kent, Kent must adopt the persona "Superman", and learn if his abilities are meant to maintain peace or conquer the world.[31]

In June 2008, Warner Bros. took pitches from comic book writers, screenwriters and directors on how to successfully restart the Superman film series.[32] During story discussions for The Dark Knight Rises in 2010, David S. Goyer told Christopher Nolan his idea regarding how to present Superman in a modern context.[33] Impressed with Goyer's concept, Nolan pitched the idea to the studio,[33] who hired Nolan to produce and Goyer to write based on the financial and critical success of The Dark Knight.[34][35] Zack Snyder was hired in October 2010 to direct the film.[36] Henry Cavill was cast as Superman in January 2011.[37] Principal photography began on August 1, 2011[38] The film had its world premiere in the United States on June 10, 2013,[39] and was released on June 14, 2013.[40]

Comic books

Title Issue(s) Publication date(s) Writer(s) Artist(s)
Man of Steel Prequel 1 May 18, 2013 David S. Goyer, Geoff Johns, and Zack Snyder (story) with Sterling Gates (script)[41] Jerry Ordway[41]


Title Publication date(s) Writer(s) Note
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Cross Fire[42] February 16, 2016 Michael Kogge Tie-in prequel novel to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Recurring cast and characters

Further information: List of DC Extended Universe film actors

List indicator(s)
Character Released films Upcoming films
Man of Steel
Batman v Superman:
Dawn of Justice

Suicide Squad
Wonder Woman
Justice League
Part One

The Flash
Justice League
Part Two

Barry Allen
  Ezra Miller[43]   Ezra Miller   Ezra Miller  
Arthur Curry
  Jason Momoa   Jason Momoa   Jason Momoa  
Carrie Farris Christina Wren[44]   Christina Wren  
Kal-El / Clark Kent
Henry Cavill[37][45]   Henry Cavill[46]   Henry Cavill[46]  
Martha Kent Diane Lane[46][47]  
Lois Lane Amy Adams[46][48]   Amy Adams[49]  
Diana Prince
Wonder Woman
  Gal Gadot[50][51][52]   Gal Gadot[51][52]   Gal Gadot[51][52]  
Victor Stone
  Ray Fisher[53]   Ray Fisher[54]   Ray Fisher[54][55]
Swanwick Harry Lennix[56]  
Bruce Wayne
  Ben Affleck[57][58]   Ben Affleck[49]   Ben Affleck[49]  
Perry White Laurence Fishburne[46][59]  
Zod Michael Shannon[46] Michael ShannonV [60]  



Box office performance

Film Release date Budget Box office gross Box office ranking Ref(s)
United States Other territories North America Other territories Worldwide All time
North America
All time
Man of Steel June 14, 2013 $225 million $291,045,518 $377,000,000 $668,045,518 63 81 [61]
Total $225 million $291,045,518 $377,000,000 $668,045,518 [62]

Critical and public response

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Man of Steel 56% (290 reviews)[63] 55 (47 reviews)[64] A-[65]


This article may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may interest only a particular audience. Please help by spinning off or relocating any relevant information, and removing excessive detail that may be against Wikipedia's inclusion policy. (July 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Film U.S. release date Director(s) Story by Screenwriter(s) Producer(s) Status
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice March 25, 2016 (2016-03-25) Zack Snyder Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer Charles Roven and Deborah Syder Post-production
Suicide Squad August 5, 2016 (2016-08-05) David Ayer Richard Suckle, Charles Roven and Colin Wilson
Wonder Woman June 23, 2017 (2017-06-23) Patty Jenkins Jason Fuchs Charles Roven, Zack Snyder and Deborah Snyder Filming
Justice League Part One November 17, 2017 (2017-11-17) Zack Snyder Chris Terrio Deborah Snyder and Charles Roven Pre-production
The Flash March 23, 2018 (2018-03-23) TBA TBA TBA Charles Roven In development
Aquaman July 27, 2018 (2018-07-27) James Wan David Leslie Johnson Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder and Charles Roven
Shazam April 5, 2019 (2019-04-05) TBA Darren Lemke TBA
Justice League Part Two June 14, 2019 (2019-06-14) Zack Snyder Chris Terrio Deborah Snyder and Charles Roven
Cyborg April 3, 2020 (2020-04-03) TBA
Green Lantern Corps June 19, 2020 (2020-06-19)
Untitled Batman film TBA Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder and Charles Roven

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Main article: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Gotham City-based vigilante Batman travels to Metropolis to preemptively combat Superman, fearing what would happen if the latter is kept unchecked, while another threat endangers humankind.[66]

In June 2013, it was announced that Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer would both be returning for a Man of Steel sequel, which was being fast tracked by Warner Bros.[67] Christopher Nolan is involved in an advisory role as executive producer.In July 2013, Warner Bros. announced that Superman and Batman will meet for the first time in a cinematic format in the film which will be the follow-up to Man of Steel and a reboot of the Batman film series, set for release in 2015.[68][69] Goyer and Snyder will co-write the story, with Goyer writing the script. Cavill, Adams, Lane, and Fishburne will reprise their roles.[46] According to Snyder and Goyer, the film will take inspiration from the comic The Dark Knight Returns.[70] However, later, Snyder clarified that the film would not be a strict adaptation of the story and instead be original.[71] Goyer stated that Superman and Batman would face off.[72] On August 22, 2013, it was announced that Ben Affleck was cast as Batman.[57] On December 4, 2013, it was reported that Gal Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman, marking the first appearance of Wonder Woman in a live-action theatrical film.[50][73] Later in the month, Argo screenwriter Chris Terrio was hired to rewrite the Goyer's script.[74] It was announced that Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons were joining the cast as Lex Luthor and Alfred Pennyworth, respectively.[75][76] As well Ray Fisher had been cast as Victor Stone / Cyborg, making his live-action theatrical debut, in a minor role that will become more significant in additional films leading up to the proposed Justice League film.[77]

Filming commenced on October 19, 2013, at East Los Angeles College.[78] The rest of the production was filmed in Toronto, Ontario, and Chicago, Illinois.[79] Filming took place too in Detroit and other areas in Michigan.[80] Additional filming took place in the Yorkville, Illinois and New Mexico area in late 2014.[81]

In January 2014, it was announced that the film had been delayed from its original July 17, 2015 release date to May 6, 2016, to give the filmmakers "time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story".[82] It got moved again to March 25, 2016.[83] In May 2014, the film's title was revealed to be Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[84]

Suicide Squad (2016)

Main article: Suicide Squad (film)

In February 2009, Warner Bros. was developing a Suicide Squad film, with Dan Lin producing, and Justin Marks writing the script.[85] In September 2014, David Ayer signed on to direct and write the screenplay for the film.[86][87] Charles Roven is also set to produce the film.

On January 1, 2014, Bleeding Cool's look at the film's script shows that Deadshot is the lead character along with Rick Flag, Captain Boomerang, Vixen, Multiplex, Mindboggler and Amanda Waller as members of the team.[88] In November 2014, it was confirmed that Margot Robbie will appear as Harley Quinn,[89] and in the following month, the rest of the cast was announced — Will Smith as Deadshot, Jared Leto as the Joker, Tom Hardy as Rick Flag, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and Cara Delevingne as Enchantress.[90] It was announced on December 16, 2014 that Viola Davis was cast as Amanda Waller.[91] Tom Hardy had to drop out as Rick Flag because of scheduling issues with his film The Revenant.[92] In January 2015, Jake Gyllenhaal was being eyed to replace Hardy as Rick Flag, but has since declined. Joel Kinnaman was chosen later on to replace Hardy as Flag.[93][94][95] On February 13, 2015, "multiple individuals with knowledge of the project" told The Wrap that Kinnaman was cast in the role, though Warner Bros. did not comment on this.[95] It was also reported that Jay Hernandez was in talks for a role, in which he was later confirmed to play El Diablo.[96] In March and April 2015, it was reported that Scott Eastwood was cast in an unspecified role and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc[97] and Raymond Olubowale in a yet unknown role.[98]

The film was reported to start shooting in Toronto from mid-April to September 2015,[99][100] On December 1, 2014, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the Pinewood Toronto Studios had been booked to start the pre-production in February, and then filming would take place from mid-April to September in and around Toronto.[101] Filming commenced on April 13, 2015 and concluded August 23, 2015 .[102][103] Suicide Squad is scheduled to be released on August 5, 2016.[49]

Wonder Woman (2017)

Main article: Wonder Woman (2017 film)

On November 7, 2013, Variety reported that Gal Gadot, Élodie Yung and Olga Kurylenko had auditioned for a lead female role, believed to possibly be Wonder Woman.[104] On December 4, 2013, Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman and also signed a three picture deal with the studio which includes Justice League and a solo Wonder Woman film.[52][105][106] In November 2014, Michelle MacLaren was confirmed to direct the film from a screenplay by Jason Fuchs, and is scheduled for release on June 23, 2017.[107][108] On December 21, 2014, MacLaren said that Warner Bros. has not yet given the official green light to the production and the release date is in question, despite revealing a date in October 2014.[109] Production is scheduled to begin in late 2015 in London and Italy.[110][111] MacLaren later left the project due to creative differences.[112] As of April 13, 2015, pre-production on the film had begun.[113] On April 15, 2015, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Patty Jenkins will direct the film.[114] In July 2015, Chris Pine was cast as Steve Trevor.[115] Production was confirmed to be underway on November 14, 2015 when actor Saïd Taghmaoui posted photos of himself and Chris Pine on set on his Facebook, but the photos were requested to be removed by the studio.[116]

Justice League Part One (2017)

Further information: Justice League in other media § DC Extended Universe

In June 2013, Goyer was hired to write the sequel of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as a new Justice League, with the Beall draft being scrapped.[117] In April 2014, it was announced that Zack Snyder would also be directing Goyer's Justice League script.[118] Warner Bros. was reportedly courting Chris Terrio to rewrite Justice League the following July, after having been impressed with his rewrite of Batman v Superman.[119] In October 2014, Warner Bros. announced the film would be released in two parts, with Part One releasing on November 17, 2017, and Part Two on June 14, 2019. Snyder will direct both films.[49]

Filming will begin in early 2016.[120]

The Flash (2018)

Further information: Flash in other media § DC Extended Universe

In October 2014, Warner Bros. announced The Flash, to be released on March 23, 2018.[49] Ezra Miller is set to play the title role of the Flash.[121] A story treatment for the film will be written by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The studio was courting the duo to also direct, but now the studio is reportedly eyeing Seth Grahame-Smith to write and direct.[122][123] Greg Berlanti, who is also involved with the hit CW TV series of the same name was previously on to write and direct,[124] but it is unknown if Berlanti will still be involved with the feature.

Aquaman (2018)

Further information: Aquaman in other media § Aquaman (2018)

It was announced on August 12, 2014 that Warner Bros. had hired screenwriters Will Beall and Kurt Johnstad to pen two separate scripts for an upcoming Aquaman film. The film is being developed on dual tracks, meaning that two scripts will be written, one by Beall and one by Johnstad, but only the best version will move forward.[125] In October 2014, Warner Bros. announced Aquaman for release on July 27, 2018, with Jason Momoa starring.[49][126] James Wan is the frontrunner to direct the film.[127] In June 2015, Wan was confirmed to direct the film and oversee the screenplay by Kurt Johnstad.[128]

Shazam (2019)

Further information: Captain Marvel (DC Comics) § Live-action films

Shazam is being executive produced by Toby Emmerich, and screenwriter Darren Lemke of Jack the Giant Slayer and Turbo has been hired to write the script.[129] Dwayne Johnson confirmed the project and his attachment on August 20, 2014,[130] officially announcing his casting as Black Adam on September 3, 2014.[131] Emmerich told Entertainment Weekly in an interview that the film will have a tone unto itself separate from the concurrent Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film: with a sense of fun and humor, but with real stakes and an anti-hero version of Black Adam.[132] In October 2014, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema have scheduled the Shazam film for April 5, 2019.[49]

Justice League Part Two (2019)

Further information: Justice League in other media § DC Extended Universe

The film was announced in October 2014, and is scheduled to be released on June 14, 2019.[49] Zack Snyder will direct the film.[133]

Cyborg (2020)

Further information: Cyborg (comics) § Live-action 2

The film was announced in October 2014, and is scheduled to be released on April 3, 2020 with Ray Fisher starring.[49]

Green Lantern Corps (2020)

Further information: Green Lantern in other media § Green Lantern Corps (2020)

This film was announced in October 2014, and is scheduled to be released on June 19, 2020.[49] The title of the film was announced at San Diego Comic-Con International on July 11, 2015 as Green Lantern Corps.[134] In July 2015, Tyrese Gibson said that he was in discussions with Warner Bros. to appear in the film.[135] Chris Pine who will be appearing as Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman was the front runner for Hal Jordan, but the actor says that he was never offered for the role.[136]

Untitled Batman film (TBA)

Further information: Batman in film § Untitled Batman film (TBA)

In October 2014, a Batman film was announced with an intended release between 2016 and 2020.[49] In July 2015, it was revealed that Ben Affleck was in talks to direct, star in, and co-write a screenplay with Geoff Johns for a stand-alone Batman film.[137][138]

Other potential projects

Besides the current and upcoming films, Warner Bros. have revealed other films based on characters published by DC Comics to be in development and several filmmakers have announced to be working on it, with all the films being distributed by Warner Bros.[139] such as a Green Arrow or Hawkman adaptation, some filmmakers are serving now as part of the production crew (such as writers, producers and executive producers) of some of the current films in the shared universe; There are some references shown in the first film released in the shared universe (Man of Steel) alluding to the existence of other superheroes as well some of the characters of these undeveloped films, with an possible establishment within the universe (except the upcoming Man of Steel sequel is already set to be in the shared universe).[140][141] Until then neither Warner Bros. nor the filmmakers have given word of confirmation to its production and announcement of its release. Several of the films are of the following:

See also


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